working abroad | london | writer

Leah is a purpose-filled writer, human rights activist, coach for budding wordsmiths and yoga teacher, driven to cultivate change through our stories. She writes to ignite meaningful connection, to arouse curiosity, to push boundaries, and to create change. She is fuelled by a desire to create ideas and build visions to make this world a better place. After studying the causes of conflict and division in society, Leah now uses storytelling to unite people, to create community and to open opportunities for collective action.

Her creation, Paper Planes Connect, is a place to celebrate our difference and to unite in our sameness. She uses her skills in writing to highlight the sensational good others are contributing to the world by staying true to their purpose despite all odds. Paper Planes Connect features the change makers of today. The people to look out for. The leaders to admire and respect. Connect with Leah at Website, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. 

Leah Davies – Writer/Human Rights Activist/Coach for Budding Wordsmiths/Yoga Teacher – London, United Kingdom.

Brief description of your role overseas (overseas location):
I am juggling a collection of roles while I live in London and travel Europe. It is safe to say there is never a dull moment!

I am the creator of Paper Planes Connect, my own storytelling venture, which features the stories of freethinkers (the ideas people, risk takers and change makers of today) who are creating positive, equitable and sustainable change through their actions in society. The new website is due for release in the next few days (hooray!), when I will launch writing and editing services for these freethinkers, including organisations, businesses and individuals, as well as a one-to-one six-week coaching session with aspiring writers to help them get their words published. Their voices heard loud and proud.

I am also a freelance writer and communication consultant for several organisations, magazines and blogs, and an Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher sharing the practice with men and women several times a week in East London.

So… what do/did you actually do?
Prior to making the move to London in June last year, I was a Program Officer for an international youth program at Oxfam Australia. It was an incredible job, which involved coordinating communciations among the 1500+ young leaders in the network worldwide. It took me to international conferences where we ran workshops and engaged with a variety of stakeholders, empowering the voice of youth in both political and social forums. I was also the editor in chief of a publication focused on a different thematic issue each month, which was designed to educate readers on critical social causes through the lens of youth’s involvement and action.

If you re-trace my steps a little further, I was a journalist for a newspaper.

A ‘typical’ day looks something like this (but ultimately changes with upcoming priorities and what my own personal compass is telling me – I always ask myself ‘What do I need today to feel joy?’)

6.30-7.00am – Crack open my eyes and take a moment of gratitude for all that I have and the day to come. Before doing anything, I sink into a meditation for the next 20 minutes. 7.30am – I get my body moving, whether that’s going for a run beside the canal and down to London Fields or Victoria Park or rolling out my mat for a delicious hour of yoga. 8.30-9.30am – Shower, a nutritious brekky, scan my emails and then I write down my work priorities for the day. 9.30 – 12.30pm – Respond to emails, set up the day’s social media posts for Paper Planes Connect’s, manage small writing and editing tasks and other admin related jobs. 12.30-1.00pm – I break for lunch. If the sun is out, sometimes that involves strolling to a nearby park with book in hand or basking in the back patio. These kind of days however are less common now with winter upon us in the UK so more often my lunch break this involves curling up on the lounge with a warm blanket or ducking out to a nearby café. 1.30 -5.30/6pm – In the afternoon, I venture into my creative cave and manage large tasks. These often involve skype or face-to-face interviews, writing stories for publication and online, developing a new blog post for Paper Planes Connect, responding to a guest post request, providing communication advice to organisations and clients. [Upon the launch of my new website in the next few days, this is the time when writing and editing, as well as coaching will take priority! So excited!] 6.00-7.00pm – Teach yoga to a class of mixed beginners and intermediate women and men 7.00-10.00pm – Clock off! Cook a scrumptious dinner and catch up with my man. Share the highlights of our day with some fave tunes playing in the background. We often wind down to a good movie or dig deep into the pages of our current novels. Then it’s off to bed! [A couple of nights a week I was always ensure I catch up with a friend or join our house mates to a game of trivia at the local pub]


What made you decide to work overseas? Has this always been a passion of yours?
It definitely has been something I have always wanted to do. I previously lived in Yogyakarta, central Java in Indonesia for my final year of study at University, but working overseas is a different experience all together. Moving to London was an opportunity to try something completely NEW. I left my secure 9-5 job and jumped on a plane into the unknown. From there, I have developed my own business, become a yoga teacher and am sharing my writing skills with people and spaces I truly value. And travelling a hell of a lot!

What is your current role?
I guess you could me a social entrepreneur. Writer/Human Rights Activist/Coach/Yoga Teacher all rolled into one!

Have your found working overseas to help your career opportunities?
Absolutely! Working overseas has made me see challenges as opportunities, and has given me the space to think creatively. It has helped me decide (and focus on) what I am really passionate about, and has also pushed me outside of my comfort zone. This is where the magic happens. The stuff of dreams. No more talk. Inspired action all the way J

What do/did you love about working overseas?
I love the connection. Here in London there are so many people from all corners of the world here for the same reason: to live and have a great time while at it! The people I have met in both social and professional circles have opened my eyes to other ways of creating a living. You CAN be multi-passionate and satisfy all the different parts of your personality by participating in various roles, both paid and/or volunteer. The options are endless. Seriously.

Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
Every time I meet with an interviewee face-to-face or over skype I am taken back by a great sense of gratitude but also inspiration. I get to speak with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. People who literally embody Gandhi’s message: Be the change you want to see in the world. I always leave feeling better for having the opportunity to meet with them, learning something new to integrate into the life I lead.

Then of course, there is the flexibility. The way I work gives me the space to create my own schedule so when I feel the pull to leave the city and go exploring somewhere in vast Europe, I do. Sometimes that’s just for a weekend, other times, it’s for a month. That type of flexibility is golden.

What would be the least favourite aspect of working overseas / challenges?
The patience and perseverance. Setting myself up in this way hasn’t come easy. It’s taken time and relentless effort. You can’t give up as tempting as it can be sometimes. There have been times when money has been a struggle which is really hard when you are living in one of (if not the most) expensive city in the world and you want to travel, but with the challenge has come great lessons, and without the ‘hard’ times, the great times would not be so frigging great.

Any advice for anyone aspiring to work overseas?
My advice is do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There will be tricky times when you will ask yourself what you are doing, but it will fall into place when the time is right. Have incredible belief in yourself and what you have to offer, and the job opportunities will find you. I promise.

What an incredible journey and story to tell… any questions for Leah? Please join the conversation below. And don’t forget to check her out over at Paper Planes Connect

One comment

  1. Great story. Inspiring to see young women particularly move outside of their comfort zone, challenging themselves and others to pursue their own potential whilst keeping a focus on the good of all. Well done.

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